Louis N Proyect
lnp3 at columbia.edu
Fri Feb 16 09:02:54 MST 1996
Be on the alert for a new book soon to be released from the excellent
Humanities Press which is a collection of Mariatequi's writings. This
father of Peruvian communism was an amazing figure.
He was deeply involved in both the socialist and literary worlds. He put
out 2 magazines in the 1920s, one devoted to political affairs, the other
devoted to culture. He was especially interested in indigenous art and
thinking and made a point of including Incan poems and drawings in his
He was influenced by existentialism and often cited Nietzsche as one of
his main influences. He paid attention to Heidegger long before the
dubious German philosopher became trendy.
He wrote hundreds of letters each year far and wide, to intellectuals and
worker's leaders. He corresponded with French novelists and poets of the
WWI generation and was particularly close to Henri Barbusse and Romaine
He evolved a political theory which envisaged a Peruvian socialism based
on the village-based agriculture of indigenous peoples. His ideas were
similar to the Narodniks in some respects. He earned the enmity of the
Comintern for these ideas. He was a "populist" deviationist in their eyes.
I have some questions about his theory, but am still fascinated in what
he represents as a paradigmatic socialist intellectual. He bears some
resemblance to figures like Jose Marti and Gramsci, and of course no
resemblance at all to the close-minded, dogmatic, anti-intellectual types
attracted to Shining Path.
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